Motorola said Thursday that China buyers of its Android-driven smartphones can opt for local search engine Baidu instead of Google, the Internet giant behind the mobile software platform.

"Users will be able to select their search experience from a number of providers, including Baidu and others, with whom Motorola has signed strategic agreements," Motorola said in a release.

Google has vowed to stop filtering search results as required by law in China and may be forced to pull out of that country as a result.

Motorola announced the "new feature" on Android handsets along with the launch of a China smartphone application store called Zhi-Jian-Yuan, translated to "Place for Apps Wisdom" in English.

"By providing them a choice in their applications and services, Motorola is letting consumers in China customize the way they experience the power of the mobile Internet," China Telecom said in a release.

The "SHOP4APPS" service and the search capabilities through Baidu will be available pre-loaded on Android handsets or as "over-the-air" updates by China's New Year's Day in mid February, according to Motorola.

"We want phones to reflect our lifestyle and our choices," China Unicom said in a release.

"The ability to pick our own search sites, our own chat services, our own games, and to craft our own mobile experience is helping China Unicom deliver on the promise of 3G."

Motorola is working closely with carriers in China and "ecosystem partners" such as Baidu to provide a suite of smartphone services including email, maps and search, according to Motorola Mobile Devices vice president Christy Wyatt.

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